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I picked this up at Eastercon because I have really liked Dave's short stories in the past, and heard a good buzz about this, including shortlisted for both the BSFA and Clarke Awards.

Rudi is a Coureur, dedicated to getting packages - primarily information, but sometimes people and sometimes other stuff - across the proliferating borders of a disintegrating mid-21st- Century Europe. First his missions start to go wrong, and then everything goes wrong. In style!

I really enjoyed reading this. I liked Rudi, I liked the landscape, I liked the telling of the tale. I'm not much one for novels that will make James Bond-style movies, but I enjoyed this one very much. I am reminded of Jack Womack, who is also a writer good enough to take me with him on this kind of violent journey.

It is nothing to do with the quality of the book, but it is nice to read an sf novel where US folks and outlooks are not the default, in fact to the point that I think the only thing related to the US at all is one character who is a US ex-pat living in London. Most of the action takes place in Central Europe, and most of the speaking characters are Central European (Rudi is Estonian, others are Polish or German). All the main players are men; there are half a dozen women, all in minor supporting roles. This is quite credible, given the nature of the story, but it is very blokish!

The book ends on a cliffhanger. I would probably read a sequel.


Caroline M

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October 2017